Lucknow Travel Guide

Do you know what the tagline of Lucknow is? It’s ‘Muskuraiye, Aap Lucknow Mein Hain’ (Smile, you are in Lucknow). And when you’re in Lucknow, there’s no reason not to smile as the historic city is known for its etiquette and warm residents who welcome tourists from around the world with great hospitality throughout the year. The capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is considered an architectural hub by many, with amazing buildings from the Mughal period and the British rule. A culmination of rich history and culture, arts, music, poetry, technology, embroidery, and finance makes Lucknow truly special. 

Located on the banks of the Gomti River, Lucknow is also called the City of Nawabs because of the royal culture that exists to date. There is a huge number of public attractions in the city that keeps tourism running, whether it’s the unique buildings, grand monuments, beautiful gardens, or museums. Lucknow is the fifth largest city in India and also, is one of the fastest-growing commercial cities in the country. Keep reading this Lucknow travel guide and we’re sure that you’ll not be able to resist the city anymore.

History And Culture Of Lucknow

As per popular belief, Lord Ram’s brother Lakshman stayed at this place after returning from 14 years of exile, and thus, the city was named Lakshmanpuri, which over the years became Lakhanpur and finally, Lucknow. The history of the city can be traced back to the 13th century when the Sharqi rulers from Jaunpur established their rule and continued till 1476. The first Mughal ruler of India, Babur captured Lucknow in 1528. Next, Sher Shah Suri came to power and his rule lasted from 1540 to 1545. Babur’s grandson Akbar ruled from 1556 to 1605 when the city became a part of the Oudh province and saw maximum development. 

The rule of Nawabs began in 1724 when the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah appointed Nawab Sadat Khan Burhan-ul-Malik as the governor of Oudh. Nawabs continued to rule till the end of the 18th century. Later on, the British East India Company captured Lucknow in 1856. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, British commissioner Sir Henry Lawrence was under siege for months. Finally, the Lucknow Pact, an agreement between the Indian National Congress and All-India Muslim League was signed in Lucknow in 1916.

Lucknow Travel Guide

Having been ruled by different regimes, Lucknow has been impacted by a blend of different cultures and lifestyles which is reflected even today, whether it is the food, religion, languages, or anything else. The most common languages that are spoken and understood in Lucknow are Urdu, Hindi, English, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Koshali, Koeli, and Braj. Similarly, there are people from different religions living in the city like Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. Lucknow’s traditional food is among its major highlights, if not the biggest one. We are sure you must have heard of the famous galauti kababs, biryani, seek kebabs, shami kebabs, nihari, kulfi, etc. 

Also read: Experiencing Food In Lucknow

How To Get To Lucknow

Getting To Lucknow By Air

The airport in Lucknow is called Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport and it serves domestic as well as international flights. You’ll find daily flights from other major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Patna, Ranchi, etc. Lucknow also has regular flights to and from Muscat, Dubai, Sharjah, and Jeddah. Outside the airport, there are numerous taxis and cabs for you to reach your target destination.

Getting To Lucknow By Train

With a strong railway network, Lucknow is a part of the Delhi-Gorakhpur route and has two major railway stations - Charbagh Railway Station and Lucknow Junction. Both the stations are well-connected with cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Patna, Chennai, etc. Luxury trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani connect Lucknow with New Delhi and Varanasi. 

Getting To Lucknow By Road

The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) operates deluxe and luxury buses that run regularly between Lucknow and New Delhi, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Jhansi, Agra, etc. Apart from this, a huge number of private bus operators also provide bus services. Since Lucknow is a major city in north India, it won’t be difficult to find different options for public transportation. If you’re arranging for your own transport, you can reach Lucknow via Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi, and Delhi.

Best Time To Travel To Lucknow

The best time to visit Lucknow for a trip with your family and friends is the six-month period from October to March. The winter season could very well result in delayed trains and flights but if you look at it just from a weather perspective, there are no better conditions for sightseeing and outdoor activities. In essence, Lucknow experiences a subtropical climate throughout the year. 

Lucknow Travel Guide

The summer season lasts around three months starting in April and ending in June. The weather conditions are extremely harsh during this period and that’s why we do not recommend you to visit Lucknow during summer. Temperatures can go beyond 45°C at times with unbearable heat waves. The monsoon season also lasts around three months beginning in July and ending in September. You can think about visiting the city at this time because the weather remains pleasant. Unexpected rains can upset your plans, though. The temperature ranges between 25°C to 35°C and the humidity level is generally high. 

The winters start in October and continue till March and during this period, the temperature varies from 7°C to 24°C. You can easily explore the best of Lucknow during this time, so if you’re waiting to plan your trip, you know what’s the ideal time to do so.

Also read: Agra Travel Guide

Getting Around Lucknow

By Bus

Lucknow city is served efficiently by the transport department of the state government which provides the citizens with amazing local bus services. These bus rides are the most affordable option among all public transport in the city. Plus, they are safe. A number of private operators also offer bus services for tourists who want to go sightseeing.

By Metro

The latest and probably the best mode of transportation in the city is the Lucknow Metro run by Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation. All the major parts of the city are easily accessible via the metro which runs from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm every day. The metro has led to a significant decrease in traffic jams.

By Rickshaw

You can find an autorickshaw at any point in time in a day. It’s your choice whether you want to use a rickshaw on sharing basis where a total of four people can be accommodated at once or hire a personal one. Your bargaining skills will come to test whenever you want to hire a rickshaw. If you can find a driver who goes by the meter, nothing like it.

By Cabs And Taxis

You have a number of options when it comes to cabs and taxis, from pre-paid taxis to 24x7 radio taxis. Many hotels can also arrange one for you as and when you need it. This is the best option if you have to visit the outskirts of the city. The Ola cabs are also readily available these days and can take you anywhere you want.

Go Check Out

Bara Imambara

Bara Imambara is not just to grab the attention of history enthusiasts, but also of those who are interested in architecture. One of the most awe-inspiring monuments in Lucknow, Bara Imambara was constructed by a Nawab of the city named Asaf Ud Daula in 1784 and hence, the monument is also known as Asfi Imambara. The huge complex comprises the Asfi Mosque, a maze called the Bhul Bhulaiya, and a bowli. The biggest draw is the maze which you’ll find on the upper floor of the monument. They say that to get inside the Bhul Bhulaiya, there are as many as 1,024 ways. However, to come out, there are only two. You do the math. Or just enjoy!

Another astonishing fact that you must know is that Bara Imambara is the largest structure in the entire world which is not supported by any metal beams or wood (except for the galleries). It’s a mind-blowing architectural wonder from the Mughal period. This is a sacred place for Muslims who come here to pray and even celebrate festivals like Muharram. The central hallway inside Bara Imambara is said to be the largest arched hall in the world where you’ll be able to see the grave of Nawab Asaf along with his crown. The reason behind the Nawab deciding to build this structure was a disastrous famine that had struck Awadh at that time. Nawab’s main purpose was to create employment for the people who were struggling.

Lucknow Travel Guide

Lucknow Zoo

Also known as the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden, the Lucknow Zoo celebrated its 100th birthday just last year in 2021 as it was established in 1921 by Nawab Hasiruddin Haider in honor of the Prince of Wales who was visiting Lucknow. It’s a perfect spot for a family picnic and it has got so much that even an entire day might feel less. A big reason why people love visiting the 71.6-acre zoo is that it serves as a break from the chaos of the city. You get to stay in touch with nature with the varied flora and fauna that is available here. The zoo does a phenomenal job of creating awareness and educating people about environmental conservation and wildlife preservation. People are introduced to details like the tusks of elephants, the eggs of birds, skins of different animals, etc.

The zoo is home to more than 400 mammal species, over 300 bird species, around 60 reptiles, and close to 100 species of wild animals. Some of the animals that you’ll get to see are the Royal Bengal Tiger, white tiger, Asiatic lion, Himalayan black bear, Indian rhinoceros, wolves, etc. In 1969, the zoo started operating a toy train which is loved by the kids. If there’s someone who cannot walk throughout the day, there are options like train rides, boating, and battery vehicles.

Rumi Darwaza

Bara Imambara was not the only spectacle that was constructed by Nawab Asaf Ud Daula in 1784. Just next to it lies the Rumi Darwaza which is 60-feet tall and the reason behind its construction was the same as Bara Imambara - to help people survive the famine through Nawab’s Food For Work program. Also known as the Turkish Gate, Rumi Darwaza was built to look similar to Bab-i-Humayun, a gateway in ancient Constantinople (today’s Turkey).

Just like Bara Imambara, Rumi Darwaza was also constructed without the support of iron or wood and stands steady even today. This is an example of Awadhi architecture. The structure is impressive during the daytime but its beauty elevates to a different level after the sun sets when it is lit up. A highly popular tourist attraction today in Lucknow, Rumi Darwaza was once the entry point to Old Lucknow City.

Also read: Varanasi Travel Guide

FAQs

Is Transportation Available In Lucknow?

The people of Lucknow have enough options to move around the city. Everything from local buses and autorickshaws to cabs, taxis, and metro is easily accessible and you can reach any part of the city without hassle.

What Food Item Is Famous In Lucknow?

The only thing that can attract tourists before the monuments in Lucknow is its food. Some of the most sought-after food items in the city are boti kebabs, kakori kababs, galauti kababs, biryani, seek kebabs, sheermal, shami kebabs, nihari, chaat, samosa, chole bhature, malai paan, and kulfi. And the eateries where you’ll find these delicacies are Idris Ki Biryani, Tunday Kababi, Raheem’s Kulcha Nahari, Ratti Lal’s Khasta, Raja Thandai, Basket Chat at Gomti Nagar, Awadhi Biryani at Wahid’s Biryani, and Prakash Ki Kulfi.

Is Lucknow Worth Visiting?

Lucknow is among the most visited cities in India by people from all across the world. And this is not only because of the beautiful monuments it houses but also the city’s delicious cuisine and unique culture. If you want to experience some of the best parts of north Indian culture, you should definitely plan a visit to the city of Lucknow.

How Many Days Are Sufficient For A Trip To Lucknow?

Whenever you decide to plan a trip to Lucknow, keep in mind that three days are more than enough to cover every major public attraction in the city. If you want to explore further, that will be your call.

Is There An Airport In Lucknow?

Yes, Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport in Lucknow is a domestic as well as an international airport. That means that you can find flights not only to New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, etc., but also to Muscat, Dubai, Sharjah, and Jeddah.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Lucknow?

It's always best to avoid the summers in Lucknow as it is extremely hot during the season. You can consider taking a trip during the monsoon months of July to September, but there are possibilities of your plans getting canceled or delayed. So, the best time to visit Lucknow would be the pleasant winter months of October to March.

Is Lucknow Safe For Tourists?

Yes, Lucknow is a safe place for tourists to take a trip. But just like any other trip, it's always best to take some basic safety measures on your trip to Lucknow.

What Is Famous In Lucknow For Shopping?

Lucknow is known for ittar (perfumes), jewelry, Chikankari suits, handmade bags, fabrics, and traditional Nagra footwear. And, these are some of the best markets to get your hands on all these items are Chowk, Hazratganj, Nakhrat, Janpath, Aminabad, and the Janpath market.